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Reaction: Hunter claims positive mindset key as England inflict revenge on France

Reaction: Hunter claims positive mindset key as England inflict revenge on France
  • England beat reigning Women's Six Nations champions France 41-26 in Doncaster
  • The Red Roses ran in seven tries to avenge last year's narrow defeat
  • Captain Sarah Hunter said positive thinking was key to the impressive victory

England captain Sarah Hunter said her team’s positive mindset was key in their 41-26 victory over reigning Grand Slam champions France at Castle Park.

England ran in seven tries to enact revenge on France after the reigning champions scored a last-minute try to win 18-17 in last year’s edition, ending the Red Roses’ Six Nations Grand Slam bid.

And Hunter said that, while it might not have been pretty for the full 80, her team’s growing togetherness was vital in holding on for the win.

“The pain of last year’s defeat certainly drove our performance today,” she said. 

“We have spoken a lot about how we wanted to perform since and we certainly imposed ourselves well in the first-half.

“We always knew France were going to stage a comeback and we fell away a little in the second half, but I’m extremely proud of the girls for putting in that performance and getting the result.

“We always knew we had the ability to beat them, but it’s all about having the right mindset – that’s the bit that you can’t coach.

“Our coaches can’t teach that – it’s all about us players turning up for big games like today.

“The girls have been showing their drive all week in training and from minute one today.

“We’re a really tight group and we’re just growing in confidence and togetherness.

“Everyone is there ready to pick each other up and go again when things don’t go to plan – that helps us get results like we did today.”

England have now won their two opening Six Nations games by large margins, but Hunter insisted the Red Roses are taking things step by step.

She added: “We’re not going to get carried away just yet – the Six Nations is a long tournament.

“We have three difficult fixtures coming up. We can’t rest on our laurels, we can’t switch off.

“We will rest, recover and refocus during the week break and think about how we do a 80 minute performance against Wales.

“We’re not thinking of anything beyond that.”

Jess Breach, who scored two first-half tries to give England the early advantage, was voted Player of the Match for her performance and the winger admitted she can’t get enough of playing at the highest level.

She said: “It was an amazing experience for me.

“The crowd were fantastic. I couldn’t hear anything my centres were saying to me!

“I’m enjoying the physicality of playing at this level.

“France are a really physical side – I was so tired by half-time but our recent switch to going full-time is really going to help us in that area.

“Losing by one point in the last five minutes last year was really heart breaking, but I definitely think we came out today and showed them what we are about.”